To quote my mother after dropping out of high school, "what a fucking disappointment." Not the fights necessarily, but the results. Every single fight seemed like the fighters I had picked to win were doing weird shit, trying to find a way to lose against a sure victory.
And since when did everybody in the UFC decide to train under Leonard fucking Garcia? Does everybody throw winging punches into the wind and hope for the best now? What ever happened to technical standup fighting? Most of these guys reminded me of Bart Simpson windmilling at Lisa.
The frustrating thing is that in at least three of the fights it seems pretty clear to me that the better fighter lost, or found a way to lose. I mean, with all due respect to Martin Kampmann, the man finds a way to win fights despite getting his ass kicked.
Prediction: Albert by decision
Result: Perez by submission round 1
First of all, can I just give Kim Winslow an "F" right off the bat? I know you want to save the fighter's arm, but the fighter didn't want his arm saved and he didn't tap, so unless you've got X-Ray vision, just do your fucking job and wait until the guy taps or snaps.
Second, I don't think I've ever seen a guy get shitkicked as badly as Albert while he basically held a fight-ending triangle. Perez's ground and pound with one arm free was ludicrous. At certain points I thought Albert's head was going to explode and goo start leaking out on the mat. I can't give Perez an "A" since he did get caught in a submission that a real fighter would have finished, but kudos nevertheless.
Albert, meanwhile, looked like my neighbour's lawn after trying to stoop and scoop a Bull Mastiff taking a diarrhea dump. I give him props for landing a submission, but that's about it. The rest was like watching Helen Keller try and drive a bus. A total fucking disaster.
Prediction: Proctor by decision
Result: Proctor by TKO round 1
It's hard to assign any letter grades to either of these guys since the fight lasted about as long ShivanTiger in the sack, but nevertheless you've got to hand it to the TUF scrub for getting the quick finish after a nice Muay Thai knee. It wasn't a blowout by any stretch of the imagination either. Both fighters were engaging in decent standup before Larsen just got caught. It happens.
Prediction: Sicilia by KO round 2
Result: Sicilia by KO round 2
This was one of those fights where I couldn't understand what either fighter was doing. Sicilia was flying into the fray, winging punches wildly like Leonard Garcia without the accuracy, while Marcello was backing straight up, holding his chin in the air like a flag, and not trying to get the takedown.
The funny thing was that after Sicilia gassed in the second round, Marcello tagged him repeatedly, and if the Brazilian hadn't been so focused on trying to engage in a sloppy slugfest he might have worn him down and finished him. Not that anyone will ever accuse Marcello of being a smart fighter, however, as eventually got clipped by Sicilia and finished on the ground.
Prediction: Jury by decision
Result: Jury by submission round 1
Again, it's difficult to assign letter grades to fights this short, but Jury seems to have returned to form after dropping an uninspired decision to Al Iaquinta on the show. It was nice to see a diversity of striking and grappling as well. As for Saunders, I'm not sure how he got subbed. After he was losing the standup, you'd think he would have shot in for a takedown much earlier, and when he was caught in the guillotine it was only from half guard. When he couldn't get his right leg free you'd think he could jump from the loose guard to upend his whole body and land on his back. Jury would wind up on top, but at least he'd have avoided the sub.
Prediction: Cruickshank by TKO round 3
Result: Cruickshank by decision
Fuck, what a boring fight. I had to pause it several times just to build up the fortitude to finish this abortion. And what the fuck is with all the bullshit stoppages to semi-illegal moves? I mean, Tickle didn't upkick him in any significant way. Put your balls back in your fucking purse, Daron, and keep fighting, you whiner.
It was mainly 15 minutes of sweet lovemaking in the guard. Cruickshank did lay and pray, Tickle did lay and splay, and the fans could barely stay during the gay.
Prediction: Cofer by TKO round 3
Result: Lawrence by KO round 3
Cofer got caught. It happens. It was otherwise a good fight and I had it scored 19-19 headed into the third. Lawrence is, by far, the most overrated fighter from this season, and he didn't dispell that notion during this fight. I felt Cofer could have utilized more wrestling, but in the end a lucky fucking punch is what it is. Lawrence, meanwhile, reminds me a lot of Gray Maynard in that he wings punches and throws the odd kick, but that's all there is to his game. He does have power, though, as we witnessed last night.
I didn't really see anything from Lawrence that indicates he'll be able to penetrate the top 50 in the division.
Prediction: Holloway by decision
Result: Holloway by decision
Nobody who scored 22 points in this fight deserved it. Not even me. Holloway displayed the worst finishing instinct I've seen since George St-Pierre. Despite demolishing Schilling early and in every round, he refused to risk his neck by wading into the guard and pounding out a man who looked knocked out on his feet. And the worst part about that decision was that it seemed the longer he refused to finish the fight the more likely it was he was going to pull a Nick Denis and totally shit the bed.
Holloway looked great, don't get me wrong, but he also looked like he was trying out for the National Ballet Team. He kept dancing back after landing big blows, and letting Schilling get out the smelling salts and wake up. If I didn't know any better I'd assume Holloway wanted to inflict as much damage on Schilling without finishing him, perhaps because Schilling fucked his sister. I really don't know and I really don't understand.
Prediction: Brookins by decision
Result: Oliveira by submission round 2
Don't get me wrong, I love Oliveira. But I really figured Brookins had the tenacity to move forward, pin Charles down, and do some ground and pound. Whoops. I don't really know what Brookins was doing out there, other than walking straight backward the whole time with his chin up while getting clipped. And although Brookins has a great chin and Oliveira doesn't have the biggest power, it was evident early that this strategy wouldn't work for the White African Space Christ.
It was confusing, actually, to see Brookins back up, rather than wade in aggressively and seek takedowns the way he always does. Honestly, I don't understand it. What made him so successful in his fights was his willingness to use his granite chin to get inside and score takedowns. But he didn't work the clinch game enough, and when he did he was getting tagged with knees. Maybe it has something to do with both fighters fighting differently at Featherweight. Or maybe Brookins figured he's a KO artist after his last fight.
Whatever the case, Oliveira looked great, and offers something exciting for an otherwise boring Featherweight division.
Michael Chiesa (A+) vs Al Iaquinta (F)
Prediction: Iaquinta by TKO round 2
Result: Chiesa by submission round 1
Well, I don't know what to say about this one. I just don't get it. Iaquinta looked like utter dog shit out there, and inexplicably gave up his back to a guy who has zero standup and a demonstrative ability on the ground. I suppose we can chalk it up to fatigue, a gruelling schedule, the inability to recover from the intensive TUF series like every other one before this one. Anything but giving props to the awkward, gangly, weird-looking, dirty hippie that is Chiesa.
But what can I say? Chiesa had the same gruelling regimen that Iaquinta went through, except for losing his father. Perhaps that was some kind of motivation that overcome a serious lack of talent. I really don't know. There are few sure things in life, but I really believed Chiesa was going to get the ugly beaten out of him. At no point did I ever seriously consider the opposite.
It'll be interesting to see Chiesa in the UFC circuit now. A part of me thinks his debut will be exactly like Cody McKenzie (against Yves Edwards, not fellow TUF scrub Aaron Wilkinson) but now there's some doubt. Maybe this weird, awkward, gaunt, homeless-looking bastard actually has some skill?
Jake Ellenberger (F) vs Martin Kampmann (A)
Prediction: Ellenberger by TKO round 4
Result: Kampmann by TKO round 2
An "F" for Ellenberger? Fuck yes, an F. What in the devil was he doing for all of four minutes in the guard of Kampmann after nearly decapitating the man in the first ten seconds? I really don't understand it. I was sitting there watching the hugging match and wondering what Jake was thinking, other than believing Martin Kampmann was eventually going to tap out to excessive hugging. If that technique worked then fucking Clay Guida would be world champion.
Look, I know I picked Ellenberger so it sounds like sour grapes, but that was the dumbest motherfucking thing I've seen since, well, since Thiago Alves jumped into a guillotine against Kampmann last time. And now we're supposed to tout Martin as a potential world champion? The guy gets beaten up in every single fight and wins by comeback miracles every time.
Another weird thing was Steve Mazzagatti's stoppage. He let the fight continue after Kampmann fell down like he'd been shot and then took about 20 unanswered shots, but he jumped in the moment Ellenberger fell to his back. What the fuck sort of reffing is that? Can you give the guy a chance to recover? Even a few seconds? And you've got to think that the only reason the fight wasn't stopped when Kampmann fell was that the cage saved his head from bouncing off the matt. If the cage hadn't been there you can assume he would have fallen exactly like Jon Fitch and the fight would have been ended right there and then and called a KO.
The sad thing about this result is that Ellenberger had moments where he looked great. But this whole Leonard Garcia-Johny Hendricks-Mike Tyson boxing approach clearly doesn't work all the time, since it leaves the fighter open to technical counter-punching, which Jake learned to his chagrin.
But look, at least Jake Ellenberger is out there putting on fights, unlike the Natural Born Coward. Jake has fought twice since Condit decided to go into semi-retirement with his fake belt, and I respect the fact he put his spot in the standings on the line against a fighter who really had no business challenging him.
It's all moot anyway, when Rory MacDonald starts cleaning out the elite of the division and putting a revenge beating on the Natural Born Runner.
EVENT GRADE: C+